Tuesday, October 14, 2008

'Splain It to Me

I've started Heart Rate Training. First thing I did was figure out my max heart rate by doing a 3-minute step test (outlined in the handy TIMEX book that came with the HRM they gave me): step up and down on a 8-inch step for 3 minutes, get a number, add 45 to it (45 if you're of average fitness, 55 if excellent) = 179. Just for kicks I checked out this NEW IMPROVED formula and got 172. (208 - .7(your age))

To run faster, you have to run faster. Can we all agree on this?

Here are my target heart rate zones (according to the same book):

z1 90-108 bpm
z2 108-126
z3 126-144
z4 144-162
z5!!!REDLINE ABORT ABORT ABORT!!! 162-180

When I run, my heart rate shoots to above the high end of z5 immediately, proving that 179 is most definitely NOT my Max Heart Rate. I slow down. I slow down more. I sloooooow waaaaay down. I'm now doing 12:30 min miles and I'm at the high end or above, of z4.Z4!!!

It gets worse. In spin class last week, my average heart rate was 166 and my max? 213. TWO HUNDRED THIRTEEN.

I had to stop. I could barely keep it under 180.

But the funny thing is I don't feel like I'm dying or anything.

Saturday while running? Average: 155 / Max: 176. And that was doing 12:28 minute miles, cuz if I went any faster, I was quickly in the 180s and above.

So, to summarize:
To run faster you have to run faster.
To run efficiently, you have to train your body to use fat so you have to stay in the correct zone (2 & 3) (??? Something like this??)
To stay in the correct zone, I have to run slower.
Which means, I'm not running faster.

Have I got this right?

So, tell me please: HOW THE HOLY HELL DOES THIS MAKE ME FASTER??

22 comments:

Doug said...

As you run more often, your body will get used to the speed/pace at 12:30 per mile. You will soon be able to keep the same heart rate / pulse running at 12:15 pace or 12:00 pace. Also, your weight may drop slightly over time, therefore, decreasing the amount of work being done by your muscles. This makes the same pace even easier. As you can see, this is a positive repeating cycle.

Muppetdog said...

Rather than do a straight calculation, it's better to determine your max HR and therefore your HR zones through a run test where you warm up and then run all-out as hard as you can for 20 minutes and determine the average and max HR for that time. If you Google a bit, I bet you can find the formula to then calculate your zones from that. when I did the basic math one, my zones were WAY too low - I could barely sustain them walking . When I did it the other way (and my coach then did the math to give me my zones) they made total sense.

Muppetdog said...

Rather than do a straight calculation, it's better to determine your max HR and therefore your HR zones through a run test where you warm up and then run all-out as hard as you can for 20 minutes and determine the average and max HR for that time. If you Google a bit, I bet you can find the formula to then calculate your zones from that. when I did the basic math one, my zones were WAY too low - I could barely sustain them walking . When I did it the other way (and my coach then did the math to give me my zones) they made total sense.

21stCenturyMom said...

What MuppetDog Molly said. You did the wrong test, particularly considering how low your resting HR is. Your heart is clearly not typical! Do a stess test (the all out run, thing). Also, your zones for the bike and the run are not the same. You have to do a bike test, too.

The Bible of HR training is by Sally Edwards. See if you can check it out from the library and use her methodology.

21stCenturyMom said...

here - I found this for you. This should do the trick

http://www.howtobefit.com/determine-maximum-heart-rate.htm

ShirleyPerly said...

I've been told by several coaches that standard formulas like what you're using are not accurate. You should do a Threshold Test to determine your HR zones. Here's a link that describes some tests that are commonly done for triathletes (there are variations):
http://www.d3multisport.com/blog/index.php/Heart-Rate-Training/
At the top there's a link to calculate the HR zones based on test results.

peter said...

Talk to Rich. He's on some pilgrimage to run faster by running slower or something. I think he has gone from sentient to somnolent in the last year. He would know how it works. That is, if you can get his attention after he started hanging with the Corona girls. :)

Rainmaker said...

As others said - I think your initial zones are off.

That said however - a very common rule is people run too hard and bike too easy (when talking about long distance running). This is because society has taught us that in order for us to have a 'proper' workout we must be breathing hard and sweating profusely. But the reality is a Z2 run shouldn't be like that. I know when I first started running based on HR based on April, I was really astounded by how slow a Z2 run pace was. Over time my Z2 pace got faster as my body adjusted to it. In the end you will run faster - and more importantly - efficiently.

eileen said...

Don't let a FREE TIMEX HEART RATE MONITOR THAT LOOKS LIKE A BARBIE WATCH throw you into a tizzie!! JUST RUN !!!

Rachel said...

Ok, you've got lots of good comments on this. I've always used my HR monitor on bike rides but not so much running- mainly due to the chaffing problem. Your HR will drop as you get fitter.
But, how do you feel when you run? Do you feel like you just sprinted the last 100 yards of a 5km? That should be when you HR be at it's max. HR rate training can be tricky.

Janice said...

Everyone is providing you with some great advice - especially the fact that standard formulas are NOT the way to determine your appropriate training zones.
Over time things will improve but initially, you may have to slow down. I know, seems insane but it all depends on what your goals are and it will get better...you just need to be patient (and willing to train alone if necessary).

katetheskate said...

Here's a link to an article that goes into some detail about the 'run slower to run faster' concept. Bottom line - it takes time, and lots of it! http://www.counterpartcoaching.com/hadd.pdf

VELOBELLATRIGIRL said...

It's very complicated, yes.....but I've got the person, the merchant partner, and the discount to get you on your way!!! Stay tuned on the Club forum, and I'll send you a separate email. You should work on the efficiency now, in the off season, and we'll work on getting faster come spring! :-)

Lesser is More said...

The other thing that I'd add that hasn't been mentioned is that when you are in spinning there is likely a lot of interference. This can be from others wearing HRMs or from a number of other random things going on. Until I got a higher end HRM that eliminates interference, I found that my rates were all over the place.

Xena said...

Dude, that formula is jacked.
Best way is to invest in actual testing.

David said...

Run all out for 20 minutes.
I want to be there to see the later stages of that effort.

"Your heart is clearly not typical."
Are we surprised.

I thought you hated all this math stuff.

Trihardist said...

And this is why we should all be running by perceived effort. Heart rate is so subjective, but it disguises itself as an objective measure.

That said, what's already been said is enough, but allow me to expound a little. The 20 minute stress test suggestion isn't going to give you your max heart rate; it will give you an approximation of your lactate threshold. When you go above your lactate threshold, you're going to start to get sore and fatigued, so you won't make it through a full 20 minutes. So when you're going as hard as you can hold for 20 minutes, you should be right around lactate threshold.

So do this: Warm up for 5-10 minutes, then set a timer and start your HRM. Go as hard and as fast as you can in a controlled environment (either on a track or on a treadmill). Use the average heart rate from the last 10 minutes of your 20 minute test to determine your lactate threshold heart rate. You can do the same kind of test on a bike, either on a long, flat stretch or a trainer.

Somewhere around here I have formulas for finding zones according to lactate threshold heart rate. Maybe I should post a blog entry on that . . .

Susan said...

I don't believe all of the heart rate junk. BUT I do believe 100% that as we get more conditioned, our heart beats slower.... if that makes sense!

Runner Susan said...

I threw away my heart rate monitor. My HR was always in the 200s and the hypochondriac me was always freaking out.

aliariadne said...

Blimey! Reading all this HR stuff makes me think I'm fitter than I thought I was. So thanks everyone - there is light at the end of the tunnel! And I'll be following a few of those links. Great stuff!

gweipo said...

I blog quite a bit about running as a "mature" lady. My experience over the years has been that women generally have higher heart rates than men and that my rate goes up faster and stays higher than my male training partners irrespective of how fit I am.
I've just done a 1/2 marathon (http://gweipo.blogspot.com/2008/10/little-on-running.html)
and I don't think my heart rate was under 160 for most of the 2.5 hours.
You're right in thinking it's good to make sure you feel ok.
Personally I'm not so sure timex is the way to go? give it a try and save up for either a polar or one of the more reputable heart rate watches.

SuperSnail said...

Aww Jeannie I love your math.